I’m delighted to have been asked to join in the newly launched Scottish Government campaign, Eat in Season, encouraging Scots to make the most of cooking and eating with local, in season foods. Scotland has an amazing natural larder and eating with the seasons has long been the way that Scots lived.
Squash is the hero vegetable of autumn for me, multi-varietal, multi functional and a constant in the vegetable basket. It is a wonderful substitute for meat in many dishes – in curries, roasted in risotto or even stuffed and roasted whole. It works really well with so many accompanying flavours whether herbs like sage, earthy spice such as cumin or with aromatics as I’ve included here in the form of smoked paprika, it just soaks up flavour. I’ve used onion squash here but harlequin or butternut would be just as good.
This soup is a thick and warming autumn favourite, but don’t stop at just making the soup. Use the peelings from the onion and carrot with a few herbs as a stock. So much more wholesome and satisfying than a cube and a great way to utilize what would be waste. The peeling from this will make enough for two batches of stock.
Onion squash and smoked paprika soup
1 onion squash peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Olive oil for roasting and sautéing
1 onion roughly chopped with skins reserved
2 carrots roughly chopped with skins reserved
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
- Heat the oven to 200C. In a roasting tray cover the squash in the paprika, add a pinch of salt, drizzle with olive oil, mix well and roast for 20 minutes, shaking after 10 to roast evenly.
- At the same time add the peelings, herbs, ½ tsp salt and the peppercorns to a saucepan, fill with 1 litres cold water, cover and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
- When the squash is almost done sweat the onion in a good glug of olive oil. You don’t want to brown but a little colour is ok. When softened add the carrot and sauté for another minute or two. Add the squash and stir.
- Drain the stock into a jug through a sieve or colander and add enough to just cover the vegetables. This should be a thick wholesome soup, don’t drown the vegetables.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the carrot. Using a hand blender or liquidizer blend the soup until smooth.
- Serve with a little dollop of yoghurt and a good grinding of black pepper.
Fort more information on the campaign go to www.greenerscotland.org